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Chris - YSM Food Bank

Responding to the need: supplying nutrition throughout the pandemic

“I have never seen so much food in my life,” says Chris reflecting on the roughly 15,000 to 16,000 pounds of food which have gone through YSM each week since the beginning of our modified food services.

As YSM’s Food Services Manager, Chris has been involved in the planning and execution of YSM’s pivot to continue supplying community members with food in a safe and healthy way, in accordance with recommendations from Public Health. “We had to consider health guidelines and social distancing to create teams to work on receiving, bagging and portioning in the back, as well as a team to manage the intake of new community members and make sure the line-up was compliant with social distancing.”

With the Food Bank normally relying on 10-12 volunteers daily, YSM has also reallocated staff to work within the new system, drawing from areas which were suddenly less busy, such as Daycare, Family Services and Property Services. Two teams, each working on alternating days, allow one team to step back if necessary, minimizing the risk of infection and allowing
the second team to continue delivering uninterrupted services.

“The work is a lot more physical,” says Chris, “we had to move our Food Bank location to a larger space, one without a loading dock and, to keep suppliers outside the building, we bring all the food deliveries inside ourselves. But the staff are always joyous and happy when they arrive, despite the difficult work.”

The need continues to grow. The demand for YSM’s Food Bank has increased more than 210% since the new service model began on March 19th.

“People keep calling and ask us what we need – donors have been really generous. One guy showed up with three car loads of noodles! For most people, the most helpful thing they can offer is financial gifts.” Chris goes on to talk about the supplier relationships YSM has that allow him to stretch each dollar and procure as much food as possible.

We’re thankful to you, our loyal supporters and all of our local partnered agencies, groceries and corporate suppliers who have helped to keep our shelves stocked. Because of you, we’re able to supply our struggling neighbours with the food they need to survive. Thank you.

Learn more about YSM’s Services during COVID here.

YSM Food Bank Preperations